Switzerland and France will contest the 2014 Davis Cup final after both nations advanced over the weekend, with Switzerland keeping alive a quest for a first-ever championship for Roger Federer.
Federer clinched the tie for the Swiss in the first singles match on Sunday, beating Italy and Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4) in Geneva. It is the first appearance in the final for the Swiss nation since 1992.
“I think I really struggled,” said Federer after a low-quality match from both players. “Fabio struggled too over the whole weekend. They were tough conditions, a pretty quick court, there were a lot of errors.”
Federer and Stan Wawrinka won their opening singles on Friday, while on Saturday the Italian duo of Simone Bolelli and Fognini defeated Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli in five sets in the doubles.
Federer and the Swiss will travel to France in November for the final after the French rolled past the Czech Republic 3-0 in live matches.
After Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had little trouble with Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol respectively in straight sets on Friday, Gasquet and Tsonga clinched it in the Saturday doubles with a four-set win over Berdych and Radek Stepanek.
It is the first return to the final for the French since losing to Serbia in 2010.
“My players are so focused on the Davis Cup and now we are in the final, it’s fantastic,” said the French captain Arnaud Clement. “We are going to celebrate this but they are also going to be very focused on the final at the end of the year.”
France has not won the Davis Cup since 2001, and Federer said he is not afraid of playing in hostile territory.
“The most classical match-ups I’ve had in my career came against France,” the former No. 1 said. “We’ve always lost at home and won away, so I’m happy it’s in France.”
WORLD GROUP PLAYOFFS RESULTS
Brazil d. Spain 3-1
Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci wins both his singles, and the doubles team of Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares provides the clincher as powerhouse Spain is banished to zonal play for 2015. The injury-hit Spanish team was comprised of Roberto Bautusta Agut and Pablo Andujar in singles.
Argentina d. Israel 3-2
Argentina needs to win both singles on Sunday, and does behind Leo Mayer topping Dudi Sela in straights, and Carlos Berlocq losing only five games to No. 776-ranked Bar Tzuf Botzer.
India tied with Serbia 2-2
Yuki Bhambri for India and Filip Krajinovic for Serbia will decide this one when play resumes on Monday.
Canada d. Colombia 3-2
Milos Raonic closes it out in the first singles on Sunday in straight sets as the Canucks retain their spot in the 2015 World Group.
USA d. Slovakia 5-0
The under-powered Slovaks fail to win a match against John Isner, Sam Querrey, the Bryan brothers and crew.
Australia d. Uzbekistan 5-0
Nick Kyrgios and Lleytom Hewitt in singles, and Hewitt/Chris “Penthouse” Guccione in doubles wrap it up for the Aussies without dropped a set in live matches.
Croatia d. Netherlands 3-2
Dutchman Robin Haase evened it up at 2-2 after the first match on Sunday, coming from two sets down to beat Croatian Mate Delic, but US Open champ Marin Cilic save the day for the Croats with a four-set win over Thiemo de Bakker.
Belgium d. Ukraine 3-2
Belgian David “The Boffin” Goffin sealed the match in the first singles on Sunday, his second singles win of the weekend, rolling past Sergiy Stakhovsky in straights.
Lucic-Baroni, Lisicki, Knapp Capture WTA Titles
Unseeded Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, German Sabine Lisicki, and first-time winner Karin Knapp of Italy captured WTA titles over the weekend in Canada, Hong Kong and Uzbekistan respectively.
Lucic-Baroni shocked top-seeded Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 for the title at the Coupe Banque Nationale in Quebec City, also sweeping to the doubles crown with Czech Lucie Hradecka.
“It was so long ago, I don’t even remember what it’s like to hold a trophy in my hands,” said Lucic-Baroni, who last won a title more than 16 years ago. “It’s just incredible. I’m still in a little bit of shock.”
The loss dropped Williams to 45-30 in WTA finals.
“She swung as hard as she could on every shot and hit so many lines,” Williams said. “It’s not typical that when you go for every shot they almost all go in. I think I played pretty well, but she just played better than me.”
The top-seeded Lisicki captured the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open crown, defeating No. 3-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the final 7-5, 6-3.
“After being in three finals last year and losing them closely, this is a big step forward for me,” said the wildcard Lisicki after winning her first title in over three years. “And I’m even happier because coming here was such a spontaneous decision — we literally decided three or four days before the tournament.”
Pliskova fell to 1-3 in WTA finals, but rebounded to win the doubles title with her twin sister Kristyna.
The No. 3-seeded Knapp edged top-seeded Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 7-6(4) for her maiden title at the Tashkent Open.
“I’ve had five surgeries, so many months of lay-offs in the last six years, in and out of tennis the last two years due to bad knee problems — but I knew it was possible for me to win a WTA event one day,” said Knapp, whose last final was in 2008.
Jovanovski fell to 2-2 in career WTA finals.
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